• Bloomberg


Ichigo Group Holdings Co. aims to boost assets to at least ¥300 billion by February for funds that will invest in Tokyo office buildings.

It will be the first asset increase in three years for Japan’s third-biggest publicly traded property manager.

The Tokyo-based firm, which had ¥266.6 billion under management as of August, plans to start “several” funds over the next few months, said Chairman Scott Callon, declining to elaborate because information is private.

Ichigo aims to start new funds after its assets fell by half from their peak in February 2007 and amid signs that the Tokyo real estate market may have bottomed out.

Office building values in the capital declined 40 to 50 percent since their 2007 high, while the market for private real estate funds expanded 7.9 percent in the first half of the year, according to CB Richard Ellis Group Inc.’s Japan unit and STB Research Institute Co.

“Our clients’ assets under management declined from the start of the financial crisis, but we are confident that they will increase this year,” Callon said in an interview Tuesday. “Property values are arguably quite low right now and Japanese real estate returns are very attractive.”

Assets under management at Ichigo stood at ¥530.1 billion as of February 2007. Japan’s average land prices have fallen for 19 straight years.

The average nationwide land value dropped 3.7 percent in the 12 months that ended in June, compared with a 4.4 percent decline a year earlier, the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry said in a Sept. 21 report.

Ichigo plans to buy office buildings that range in price from ¥2 billion to ¥10 billion because there is less competition to purchase them and they offer higher returns, Callon said.

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